“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know”. _St. Augustine
For millennia before Saint Augustine puzzled over the illusiveness of time human beings have struggled to understand the nature of time. What is time? What does it mean to live in time? Does time have a beginning and end? When does the present cease to be present? How is it that we have a sense of self over time? Does time flow from future to present to past, or, is it more like the static sequential frames of a strip of film running through the projector of the mind?
Telling Time is a collection of films and a media art installation exploring human experiences of time. Melding experimental film/video with documentary interviews and fiction forms, Telling Time employs time as a medium and as a subject.
Interviews with artists, scholars, scientists and average people explore the fissure between how we experience time and what we know about time: while original footage shot in various locales imagines time narratively and poetically. Video interviews for the project were contributed by (among others) conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper, performance artist Marina Abramovic, physicist and historian of physics Peter Galison, artist Jan Fabre, theoretical physicist Julien Barbour, and choregraphers Ralph Lemon and Eiko Otake.
Both the film and the installation are structured around the temporal properties of the world (passage, duration, direction, order, pace) as thematic categories. Thereby, exploring narrative time from a phenomenological perspective rather than by means of narrative storytelling structure. While time in Telling Time is examined visually through cinema the temporal properties of the world are explored sonically in an original music scored for small ensemble and voice by composer Paulo Chagas.
- Lynn Lukkas, Associate Professor of Art, Department of Art, University of Minnesota, US